Case of the Day: DNC v. Russian Federation

The case of the day is Democratic National Committee v. Russian Federation (S.D.N.Y. 2019). I’ve written about the case several times before (for instance, these posts on the FSIA issues, this one on serving process on Wikileaks, and this one on serving process on Julian Assange while he was still holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London). In today’s post I’m going to deal only with the fate of the claim against Russia itself to avoid unwisely commenting on a current case in my firm; my partners Caroline Polisi, Jeff Alexander, and Chris LaVigne represent George Papadapolous in the case, with help from our excellent associates Shira Feldman and John Dillon. (Congrats on the win, guys!) (more…)

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Case of the Day: Khrapunov v. Prosyankin

The case of the day is Khrapunov v. Prosyankin (9th Cir. 2019). Khrapunov was a defendant in an English lawsuit in which he was alleged to have misappropriated money from JSC BTA Bank, a Kazakh bank. He sought discovery from Google in the Northern District of California for use in the English case, and specifically for use in proceedings aimed at lifting injunctions the English court had issued. The judge, over objections, authorized issuance of the subpoena, and the objectors appealed. While the appeal was pending, the English court decided the injunction issue, denying Khrapunov any relief. Kharpunov’s requests for leave to appeal was denied, and the English court’s decision had become final, though he claimed he could seek to set aside the English decision. (more…)

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Ingrid Wuerth on Personal Jurisdiction and the Fifth Amendment Due Process Rights of Foreign Sovereigns and State-Owned Enterprises

Ingrid Wuerth, Professor of law at Vanderbilt Law School and friend of Letters Blogatory (you can follow her at @WuerthIngrid on Twitter), has an important new forthcoming paper on foreign states’ status as “persons” under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. I’m very happy that she’s previewing her paper here at Letters Blogatory. The basic claim is that foreign states should be treated as persons under the Fifth Amendment, and that even if the FSIA purports to give the courts personal jurisdiction in any FSIA case in which an exception to immunity does not apply, the courts must still do a constitutional analysis. There are some claims, she writes, where a foreign state probably is not subject to personal jurisdiction, e.g., terrorism claims. Congratulations to Ingrid on an interesting paper, and many thanks for posting on it here!

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) provides immunity to foreign states from lawsuits in the United States, with limited exceptions. If an exception applies, the statute gives federal courts both subject matter jurisdiction (28 U.S.C. § 1330(a)) and personal jurisdiction (28 U.S.C. § 1330(b)). The FSIA’s protections are extensive and generally allows suits to go forward against foreign states only if they are based upon conduct with a connection to the United States. The nexus required by the statute usually meets or exceeds the “minimum contacts” test developed by the Supreme Court under the Fourteenth Amendment, as applied to the entire United States under the Fifth Amendment. In some cases, however, especially ones involving terrorism or arbitration, the statute permits a lawsuit to go forward in which the relevant conduct has little connection the United States. (more…)

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The Judgments Convention Is Here

The Judgments Convention has been adopted! This is the culmination of decades of work to fill one of the biggest gaps in private international law. The immediate prospects for American participation in the Convention are unclear. Indeed, in the days since adoption, only one state, Uruguay, has signed the Convention. But these things take time and we should wait some times—years, probably—before making judgments. (more…)

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Case of the Day: TIG Insurance v. Argentina

The case of the day is TIG Insurance Co. v. Republic of Argentina (D.D.C. 2019). TIG had an arbitral award against Argentina and a default judgment confirming the award that, with interest and penalties, was in the amount of $33.66 million. In 2018, Argentina decided to list real property in Washington for sale. The property had previously been used as a diplomatic residence but had fallen into disrepair. TIG moved for writs of attachment and execution, but Argentina immediately thereafter took the property off the market. The question was whether the property had immunity from execution under the FSIA.1 (more…)

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Lago Agrio: Update and Correction

A correction to my last post on the Lago Agrio case. An alert reader noted that there is still an enforcement proceeding pending in Argentina’s Supreme Court. In late 2017, I reported on the first-instance decision in Argentina, and although I didn’t cover it, in July 2018 Chevron published an English translation of the appellate decision affirming the lower court’s decision. I cannot find a reference online to the proceeding in the Argentine Supreme Court, but assuming the reader’s account is correct, then it is not right to say that the Lago Agrio case is wholly over. Hope springs eternal in the human breast.

A few more observations about the latest development in Canada: (more…)

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Credit: Julien Gomba (CC BY)

Lago Agrio Case Comes To An End (For Now?)

Update: I made a correction to this story, relating to the pendency of an enforcement case in the Argentine Supreme Court.

The Lago Agrio plaintiffs have consented to dismissal of their action in Ontario for the recognition and enforcement of the Ecuadorian judgment. Their consent came in the face of Chevron’s motion to dismiss. Because the Ontario action was, as far as I know, the only case still pending anywhere in the world seeking recognition and enforcement of the Ecuadorian judgment, I think it is fair to say that this is the end of the Lago Agrio case. (more…)

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Case of the Day: Stemcor USA v. Cia Siderurgica

The case of the day is Stemcor USA Inc. v. Cia Siderurgica do Para Cosipar (5th Cir. 2019). Daewoo International had a contract with AMT for the purchase of pig iron to be delivered in New Orleans. Thyssenkrupp Mannex GmbH also had a contract with AMT for the purchase of pig iron. AMT failed to perform either contract. Daewoo brought an action against AMT in the Eastern District of Louisiana seeking to compel arbitration and also seeking an attachment of pig iron on a ship then anchored in the port of New Orleans. Daewoo relied both on the rules for maritime attachments and a Louisiana statute providing for prejudgment attachment in aid of an “action for a money judgment.” TKM then sued AMT in Louisiana state court on the substantive claim and obtained an attachment. TKM intervened in the federal case and argued that a maritime attachment was improper and that the Louisiana attachment did not apply because the suit to compel arbitration was not an “action for a money judgment.” The court agreed and dissolved Daewoo’s attachment, making TKM’s attachment the senior lien. (more…)

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